Oxford University is a unique and beautiful place to study abroad for any student. There are many differences between the British and the American system. Firstly, the university is made of up 39 individual colleges. Also, their academic year has some interesting names: Michaelmas (October to early December), Hilary (January to early March), and Trinity (April to mid-June). Lastly, Oxford’s system is called the “tutorial” which is all about independent study. You will have more responsibility but also more flexibility. Your “tutor”, or professor, can also adjust the course to cover topics that interest you and may be flexible if you need to miss a tutorial.
A few tips:
- Be open-minded. Expect the academic experience to be different!
- At Oxford, students are expected to learn most of the material independently. There are no detailed syllabi at Oxford, so take thorough notes during lectures and tutorials.
- Your essays will not be perfect and your tutors don’t expect them to be. Enjoy your time abroad and soak up the culture!
- Ask tutors questions (about reading lists, coursework, deadlines, and resources) as soon as you arrive at Oxford. It is important to understand the tutors’ academic expectations and the ways in which they will evaluate your performance.
- Join active clubs and activities. There’s an activity for everyone, from football and rowing to theater, choir and Quidditch.
Things to Do and See
- Take advantage of the natural beauty on walks and runs: Port Meadow, Christ Church Meadow, University Parks, and Punting on the Cherwell.
- Check out the Tango Club for great dance.
- Study in the Radcliffe Camera; if you like quiet, you will not regret it.
- Watch a performance at Sheldonian Theatre.
- Get a student membership at Curzon at Westgate.
- Make it to choral evensong on Sunday evenings at any of the college chapels.
- Go to the Ashmolean (art and archaeology) and University Museum (natural history)
- The many, many concerts and shows on campus. There are so many events during any given week, so much so that it’s hard to choose! Many concerts are free to students, and others have a steep student discounts.
Enjoy your time abroad at University of Oxford!